Nevada Secretary of State Barbara K. Cegavske visited Battle Mountain High School last week to present the Helen J. Stewart award to the students, staff and administration.
BMHS is the only school in Northern Nevada to have achieved this honor since its inception in the 2016-17 school year.
The purpose of the Helen J. Stewart Award is to launch seniors from high school who are poised for civic participation in their community by encouraging voter registration among eligible Nevada high school students. The award was established by Cegavske and can be given annually to any Nevada high school that hits the requirements.
The Helen J. Stewart Award is presented to any Nevada high school that gets at least 85 percent of eligible students in the senior class registered to vote in Nevada. Battle Mountain had 86% in the senior class registered to vote.
In order to register to vote in Nevada, you must be a U.S. citizen, be at least 18 years old, and have continuously resided in Nevada at least 30 days in your county and 10 days in your precinct. Pre-registration is available to all 17-year-olds.
Those who are pre-registered to vote will automatically be registered to vote on their 18th birthday. Individuals with a felony conviction can register to vote as long as they are not currently serving a term of imprisonment for a felony conviction.
Helen J. Stewart married and moved to Nevada in 1873 from California and resided with her husband and three children in the Pioche, Nevada area.
In 1882, Helen moved with her husband and children to the Las Vegas Valley to take possession of the Las Vegas Ranch. Two more children were born in the Las Vegas Valley.
Stewart operated the ranch after the death of her husband in 1884. She became the first woman elected to the Clark County School District’s Board of Trustees in 1916. She donated land in 1922 for the Las Vegas Grammar School, which became the first public school attended by Native American students from the Southern Paiute Indian Colony. The building still stands and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.
“The future is in the palm of hands, every time we go to the ballot, whether it’s in a week or 30 years down the road,” said BMHS student Aydan Samuelson to his fellow classmates during an assembly last week. “No matter what party you identify with, if any, your opinions need to be heard. You may be sitting and thinking that your vote won’t make a difference but adding up every individual who believes on a cause can turn into millions of supporters. As the next generation of this country, we have a responsibility to show up and vote. Young people have the smallest turnout when it comes to voting but we can change that. What you may consider irrelevant or unnecessary now could end up having a bigger impact on your future than you think.”